Tony Mcgurk

TT Jour­ney­man

Classic Racer - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Pho­to­graphs: John Wat­ter­son and Mor­tons Archive www.mor­ton­sarchive.com

Now aged 73, Mcgurk was a mere 12 sec­onds off even­tual run­ner-up Brian Ball when he ap­proached the old road­side pits, in front of the Grand­stand on Glen­crutch­ery Road, for fuel at half dis­tance. His own pit was ob­scured by cam­era­men who had swarmed the area for Ago’s stop along­side and Mcgurk was ini­tially un­sighted. When he did spot his crew he braked hard and came down like a ton of bricks on the metal drainage grids, snap­ping a footrest off his G50. It put him out of the race. “I was up to sixth place be­hind Brian Ball, who lost con­sid­er­able time in the sec­ond half with me­chan­i­cal prob­lems and even­tu­ally fin­ished more than eight min­utes adrift of Ago,” ex­plains Old­ham man Mcgurk. “I’d over­taken even­tual third place fin­isher Barry Ran­dle at Bar­regar­row on lap three, but the re­main­der of the top six, with the ex­cep­tion of Agos­tini, re­tired.” The 1968 Se­nior was in­deed a race of con­sid­er­able at­tri­tion, with just 37 riders from a to­tal field of 85 com­plet­ing the dis­tance.

John Hartle, who had been a non-starter for the Ju­nior af­ter a first lap mishap at Windy Cor­ner in the Pro­duc­tion race at the start of the week, also came off the MV-3 at Cronk-ny-mona, leav­ing Alan Bar­nett (Kirby Metisse), Griff Jenk­ins (Match­less), Derek Wood­man (See­ley), Peter Wil­liams (Match­less) and Mal­colm Up­hill (Nor­ton) to chase the run­away works MV. Bar­nett and Wil­liams re­tired and Up­hill slowed con­sid­er­ably, so John Cooper moved into sec­ond place ahead of Kel Car­ruthers and Percy Tait. Brian Ball moved onto the leader­board in fifth, one place ahead of Mcgurk who was rid­ing his own Match­less fit­ted with the front brake off Tom Kirby’s 7R AJS. Wood­man slowed on lap four, and with Mcgurk side­lined, Barry Ran­dle and Jim Curry were el­e­vated into the top six. With less than two laps re­main­ing, Agos­tini led Cooper by al­most four min­utes, with Ball up to third. Cooper lost his chance of a best ever TT fin­ish when he was forced to re­tire at Sulby Bridge, leav­ing Ball and Petty Nor­ton-mounted Ran­dle to bat­tle it out for the run­ner-up spot. At the close, the gap­ing dis­tance be­tween first and sec­ond was eight min­utes and 29 sec­onds, but the mar­gin be­tween Ball and Ran­dle was re­duced to a mere four-tenths of a sec­ond as Ball nursed his See­ley to the line with gear­box prob­lems. This (1968) was the year that Ago com­pleted the first of his four Ju­nior/se­nior TT dou­bles. He won the Ju­nior at a record av­er­age speed of 104.78mph from Renzo Pa­solini on the works Benelli, with Bill Smith third on a Honda fol­low­ing the re­tire­ments of Heinz Ros­ner (MZ) and Kel Car­ruthers (Aer­ma­c­chi) on lap three.

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